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No Friends Of The Negro Up North

From: Bernhard1848@att.net

The black families were not in need of help before the abolition armies descended upon the American South spreading destruction and devastation. Both the mayor and governor below were careful to not allow the emigration of cheap labor into their respective States. But it was Governor John Andrew of Massachusetts and his abolitionists friends who found it better to pay black mercenaries to fill Bay State regiments rather than resident whites; and since the impressed former slaves were not citizens of that State, they would not receive State assistance for their families. A good deal for Massachusetts.

Bernhard Thuersam
Cape Fear Historical Institute
Wilmington, NC
www.CFHI.net

No Friends of the Negro Up North:

(A) large number of contraband Negroes had fled to Cairo, Illinois. Seeking help for them, Brigadier General T.W. Tuttle wrote to Mayor Sherman of Chicago, saying: "I have a large number of applications from your city for Negro servants. Will you....see that they are properly put to work?" Mayor Sherman seemed to be horrified at such a suggestion, and to Tuttle's letter he quickly replied: "Your proposition to send Negroes to Chicago to work would be in violation of the laws of this State, and a great injustice to the laboring population. I cannot give my consent..."

When the Boston Post on October 30, 1862, reported that five hundred families of contraband Negroes were to be sent to Massachusetts, Governor John Albion Andrew promptly refused to permit them to come. With regard to the governor's refusal to accept the Negroes into the State, the editor of the National Intelligencer wrote:

"It...seems that the introduction of members of this oppressed race into a State where they are supposed to have so many sympathizing friends is not regarded with favor by the people of Massachusetts. So unpropitious to "loyal blacks" is the social atmosphere that it is precisely because Governor Andrew does not wish their new freedom to become license, corruption and infamy," that he declines to aid or countenance their transportation to the North. The "African" is a "brother," but South Carolina, not Massachusetts, is left to be the "brother's keeper."

It was ironic that two areas in the country which had been so hostile to slavery and opposed to enforcement of he Fugitive Slave Law were so reluctant to accept in their midst Negro families who were faced with disease and starvation and in need of help."

(The Slave Catchers, Enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law, 185-1860, Stanley W. Campbell, W.W. Norton, 1968, pp. 193-194)